Some people who overeat have an eating disorder, called binge eating disorder, this condition lasts for a lifetime in most people suffering from this but there are many treatment options that can help one overcome this disorder.
Some people don’t have this disorder but they have just formed a habit of eating too much. This is a health-destroying habit and we will be seeing the dire consequences of this action on your body and general well-being.
How Overeating Affects your Body?
It causes lots of biochemical changes in your body, this leads to increased appetite, more food cravings, and other biochemical changes that make your stomach send mixed signals to your brain when it is actually full.
This unhealthy habit sets the biochemistry of your body into a sort of red alert; the metabolic reactions and hormones that metabolize foods increase their actions and activities just to get rid of this extra food that is not needed by the body.
This, in turn, stores all foods eaten as fats and none or little is converted to healthy byproducts which the body can utilize. The pancreas tries to produce extra insulin to remove excess glucose from the bloodstream, this leads to a futile cycle because the body will continue producing insulin (due to overeating) till the brain senses that the levels of glucose are safe.
When the body stops producing insulin after receiving signals from the brain, too much of sugar has been removed from the body, this leads to hypoglycemia or low blood sugar which comes along with dizziness, fatigue, and even depression.
Overeating makes the neurological tissue located at the top of the stomach to malfunction; this tissue sends signals to your brain that your stomach is full. When you constantly overeat, your electrical conduit pathways refuses to send signals to your brain that you are full or it sends abnormal signals to the brain which might not even realize that you are full.
Taking lots of icy and sweetened beverages with your meals worsen the condition; it makes the stomach to contract, emptying its content quickly into the gastrointestinal tract and this will make you feel hungry soon. Studies conducted on mice showed that overeating changes the body clock; it pushed them to eat more. The body clock is an innate mechanism that tells you what to do like what to eat, when to sleep and so many more.
When these rats were fed a high-fat diet regularly, they woke up at midnight to eat also. This resulted in weight gain and it also affected their sleep pattern because they were waking up every night to eat (nighttime binging).
Diseases and Complications Caused By Overeating
Excess Weight and Obesity
Overweight and obesity is the most common side effect of overeating, this happens because too much of foods are eaten in a short amount of time and it gets worse when the individual is not engaged in physical exercises and thus, calories are not burnt.
Obesity or excess body weight raises the risk for a lot of health problems; some of these diseases are chronic (long-term) and examples are: Arthritis, sleep disorders like sleep apnea, type II diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Coronary Artery Disease
Overeating and obesity raise the risk factor of this serious health complication; this leads to a lot of heart problems like heart attack, heart disease, irregular heartbeats, and heart failure. This killer disease is responsible for millions of deaths around the world.
Type II Diabetes
People who overeat have a higher risk of developing type II diabetes than those who don’t. Overeating increases the levels of glucose in your body and it also makes it harder to control.
Symptoms of type II diabetes to look out for if you engage in binge eating are: tingling or numbness in your hands or feet or both, blurry vision, frequent urination, extreme hunger and thirst, and fatigue or weaknesses.
This chronic disease is the third leading killer disease on the planet. Obesity is a risk factor for stroke, it occurs when cholesterol or other matter block the blood vessel supply blood to the brain.
This leads to the death of brain cells and brain damage and then paralysis or weakness of the limbs sets in. this condition affects speech, movement, memory, and coordination.
Overeating, obesity, hypertension, are risk factors for strokes.
Obesity makes the heart to work more; it puts extra pressure on the heart and the poor organ finds it hard to do its normal job of pumping blood all-round the body. This is caused by excess accumulation of fats in the body, fats accumulated in the belly or abdomen raises the risk of high blood pressure, high levels of sugar in the bloodstream and high levels of cholesterol.
All these are triggers for heart disease, stroke, and other chronic diseases. Few signs of heart disease are sweating, chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting and dizziness, irregular or fast heartbeat and many more. If you are overweight and you have any of the following symptoms; please don’t take it lightly, try and see a doctor as soon as possible.
Overeating can cause gallstones in your gallbladder, this occurs when bile hardens and blocks the flow of bile through the bile ducts.
People with binge eating disorder experience anxiety, depression, low self-esteem (this may be due to their body weight and body shaming), and other mental and psychological disorders.
Many people who overeat do that just to boost their mood, a sign of emotional eating is eating too much food even when you are not hungry. This can be corrected and treated with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT); it relieves the symptoms of mood disorders in patients who binge eat and it helps them feel better about themselves.
Signs and symptoms of emotional eating and mood disorders are: fatigue and feeling drained or weak all the time, a feeling of helplessness or hopelessness, feeling sad or empty all the time, feeling guilty, and losing interest in things and hobbies you once loved. Other health problems overeating causes are bloating, hormonal changes, heartburn and indigestion of food, tiredness, and dizziness, and many more.
When to See a Doctor?
Binge eaters usually have lots of emotional problems and they fall to food for support. Some of them are suicidal and are in a constant state of depression.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from binge eating disorder and they start thinking of harming themselves, you have to take them to a doctor immediately.
Another sign to watch out for that needs immediate medical attention is when you can’t change your eating pattern or habit even after seeing a doctor or getting help and support from friends and family members.